Tag Archives: books

Kal’s May 2019 Forecast

Hey everyone, it’s been a bit of a crazy past few months, but I’m getting back into things and I should be on track again soon.  If you hadn’t seen, my father passed away recently and combined with some other family things, some work things, and some Army things, well, life has been a bit more hectic than usual.  I can’t say it’s getting any better in the near future, but I am adjusting and, well, there’s about as much good as (or more than) the bad.

So, anyway, what’s the rest of May hold in store?  Well, I’m hopeful to get Stolen Valor, the 2nd Forsaken Valor book, completed, edited, and published by the end of the month.  It’s a matter of completing it and getting it to my beta readers in time and I think that’s on track.

As I finish that off, I aim to do the same with the second Argonauts book, A Cold Day in Hades, which I need to finish, edit, and again, send to my beta readers.  From there, I’ll do my final edits and send it to Chris Kennedy Publishing.  My goal is to get that sent to them before the end of the month, as well.

What else, you ask?  Well, there’s quite a few projects I want to work, including a new one (gasp, I know, I have a lot of in-progress series).   But the next book I plan to publish is the last of the main-line Shadow Space Chronicles books, The Star Engine.

I know I won’t get it done before the end of the month, but it’s going to be coming in the next few months.  It’s a bit behind when I planned it, but I think it’ll be worth the wait, tying of the SSC storyline and setting things up for future series in that universe.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

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Black Friday Book Recommendations

If you’re like me, then the thought of going out into the crowds of Black Friday sounds about as much fun as running a cheese grater across your face.  I’ve got the perfect answer for that!

Stay home, read some books.

There’s a few interesting ones by authors I’ve come to know that I can recommend.  I haven’t read these yet, but they look interesting and a one of them is on sale:

On Different Strings is only $0.99: https://amzn.to/2Dv8o66

Guitar virtuoso Amy Ziegler ekes out a precarious living as a teaching assistant in the Mays College music department. One day a mysterious older student shows up: Ian Keenan, an engineering professor and closet songwriter. Opposites attract, and music is the language of the spirit.

Each is passionate about music, and each has been deeply wounded in love. Thus a weird yet wonderful friendship grows between the reserved English academic and the outgoing small-town Texan girl who grew up in poverty. Each secretly starts yearning for more, but the world has other ideas. Soon they become caught in a maelstrom between rivals, exes, their own pasts, activists, and campus bureaucrats. Will the rapids tear them apart, or will love and sanity prevail?

This Fallen World is a new one by Chris Woods, a Dragon Award nominee and an all around awesome author: https://amzn.to/2PClzJI

The world has Fallen, but life goes on…

Matthew Kade was a corporate assassin—one of the best agents Obsidian Corporation had. But then the bombs began falling, and the old world ended. Now he must navigate the new world he finds himself in, a world where the strongest survive, and the weaker do their bidding…or die. 

Kade was always one of the strongest, though, so when a rich man’s daughter goes missing, he turns to Kade to find her and bring her back. But she has already been gone three days, and in the Fallen World, that is an eternity in which any number of things could have happened to her. 

Can Kade—a man with a price on his head—pick up the trail of the young woman and navigate the streets of the city to find her, or will the city’s denizens be the end of him? It will take all of Kade’s abilities to find her and save her life…if he doesn’t lose his first.

Cyber… er, Tuesday

So, I missed Cyber Monday, but I’ve got a variety of my books available for free for the next few days!  Prisoner of the Mind, The Fallen Race, and Renegades: Origins will all be free for the next five days!

Additionally, Valor’s Child, the first book of my Children of Valor series, will be discounted to $0.99 from the 28th to December 2nd.  So you can get it for just under a dollar.  Check them all out, tell your friends, and please leave reviews!

Links:

Prisoner of the Mind: http://amzn.to/2zLbOMH

The Fallen Race: http://amzn.to/1FzQRRq

Renegades: Origins: http://amzn.to/1UJCmkU

Valor’s Child: http://amzn.to/2ukhgni

Ghost Star Wants You… To Leave Reviews!

Hi everyone, Ghost Star has been out for almost a month. As such, it’s time for me to pester my faithful readers to please leave a review!  Amazon, Goodreads, wherever you prefer… even just emailing me to tell me you hate it.

For those of you who purchased it (and I know you’re out there, I’m seeing the sales) please leave a review.  I read them all and I take what you all say into account.  This is a growing universe and your feedback helps me to improve as a writer.

Thanks for reading!  Kal

Books for the Holidays

If you’re looking for some books to read over the holidays, here’s some recommendations, either books I’ll be reading or books I think are definitely worth the read.  If you’re like me and you already have a huge backlog of books to read (and stuff to write as well), then you can add these to the pile.

Up first is one that I’ll be reading to my son:

David and the Phoenix, Edward Ormondroyd

When young David moves into his new home, he decided that it would be more fun to go exploring the mountains around him, rather than unpack. When he reaches the summit of the mountain, he is met by a phoenix. After getting over their initial fright, they become good friends, and the phoenix decides to show him the magical wonders of his world. During their adventures there are many narrow escapes!

 

The next one is another fun book that I’m looking forward to reading:

Castaway Planet, by Ryk Spoor and Eric Flint

NEW ENTRY IN THE BEST-SELLING BOUNDARY SERIES. Stranded humans must adapt alien technology to survive on a dangerous planet.

Lost in the dark, half a year into their journey to the colony world of Tantalus, Sakura Kimei, her family, and her best friend, the alien “Bemmie” nicknamed Whips, are torn from the safety of their colony ship. In a crippled lifeboat, they had one chance to find a habitable world. But even then, they would find that their apparent salvation was a world of a thousand secrets

 

If you’re not feeling the holiday spirit or else you just feel like the holiday shoppers are hordes of mindless zombies, this book (and series) is probably for you:

Strands of Sorrow, John Ringo

BOOK 4 AND CONCLUSION OF THE BLACK TIDE RISING SERIES FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR. Sequel to Islands of Rage and Hope, To Sail a Darkling Sea, and Under a Graveyard Sky. A hardened group of survivors fights back against a zombie plague that has brought down civilization.

With the world consumed by a devastating plague that drives humans violently insane, what was once a band of desperate survivors bobbing on a dark Atlantic ocean has now become Wolf Squadron, the only hope for the salvation of the human race. Banding together with what remains of the U.S. Navy, Wolf Squadron, and its leader Steve Smith, not only plans to survive—he plans to retake the mainland from the infected, starting with North America.

Smith’s teenage daughters have become zombie hunters of unparalleled skill, both at land and on the sea, and they may hold the key to the rebirth of civilization on a devastated plane

 

And if you’re looking for something big to keep you occupied, I recommend my book Echo of the High Kings:

Echo of the High Kings, by Kal Spriggs

In Eoriel, the High Kings are legend: rulers who once stood against the darkness and ruled the world for two thousand turns of peace and prosperity. In the long turns since their fall during the Sundering, Eoriel’s civilization has faded. Dark men and darker beings have torn down and destroyed the old works. While some have held out against the grind of history, other places have been reduced to primitive tribes of savages, worshiping dark spirits and demons as their gods.
Yet a spark of hope remains. Some still believe in the old legends, some still fight to restore the old ways, and some will stand against the darkness, in an echo of the High Kings.

 

How I Learned To Hate The VAT

My fellow self-published authors have no doubt already been bombarded by emails from Amazon in regards to changes in the VAT, but I thought I’d take a moment to tell my readers why prices are going to suddenly change on a number of books and how this change affects authors.  These changes take place on 1 January, 2015.

You see, the way the VAT used to work, it applied based on the seller’s country. So an author in the UK had a 20% VAT on top of the price of their book, off each sale. Now, however, it is based off the customer’s country. So when I sell a book in, oh, say Ireland, there’s 23% tax on top of the price of the book. This means for a book that is €5, the tax is an additional dollar, making the book €6.15. The way Amazon is resolving this is that the tax comes off the top… and my royalties, therefore are still as if the book sold for €5. What this means, is that either I lower prices (IE, to €4.12) which then should make that same book €5 to the customer or it goes for €6, which pushes me up around where some of the well-established authors are, and makes it less likely for a new reader to buy my book.

Now, since I get roughly €3.42 (70% royalty minus some delivery fees and such) off the sale of a €5 book, the difference, as far as I can tell through my projections, is that I get €3 now for a book that sells for the same price. Basically, a foreign country gets a dollar off each of my book sales while I lose forty cents per sale. Not a lot, individually, but that’s around €200 a month that I won’t get (and  €500 that some other nation does get). Keep in mind, writing is my second job, I still work full time. How would you feel if your boss told you that your pay is getting cut €200 a month to pay taxes in a country you don’t live in?

Urban Fantasy

It's easy to imagine the extraordinary when superimposed on the ordinary...
It’s easy to imagine the extraordinary when superimposed on the ordinary…

Urban fantasy is, at its root, a mishmash of a variety of genres.  The typical urban fantasy author often combines one or more genres of fiction with fantasy in their story.  The fun of urban fantasy stories often lies in the contrast between the ordinary and the extraordinary.  Wizards duke it out with magic and bullets, Police investigate supernatural crimes, and elves drink Miller Lite and watch Nascar.   The possibilites are limitless, especially when the stories can be told in so many ways.  Supernatural Romance, Paranormal Investigation, Zombie Apocalpyse, even Superpower Crime Noir novels are all under the broad catagory of Urban Fantasy.  As a market, the genre has been extremely successful, from the Harry Potter series to Twilight, there has been far more mainstream appeal to Urban Fantasy than other aspects of Science Fiction or Fantasy.

Why is that?  Well, there’s a number of reasons.  Honestly, one of the big ones is that it’s easier for the average person to get into.  They don’t have to try to memorize funny names for people or places, they don’t have to figure out some other world.  The setting is someplace they’ve heard of, maybe even lived in.  The events and history, while different in the particulars, are the same history that they learned in school.  Sure, magic might be a smaller or greater effect in that history, but these little changes often are part of the charm.  What if the Kaiser used necromancers in World War I to raise zombie hordes such as in Larry Correia’s Grimnoir Chronicles?  What if the Red Vampires secretly seduce and abduct thousands of people across the country as in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files?  It doesn’t change how the main course of history went, and society, places, and events are still the same.  This makes it easy for the average person to pick up a book for casual reading.

Another reason that Urban Fantasy novels tend to be so popular is that they’ve gotten their hooks into this generation.  Many kids grew up with Harry Potter, and now that they’re adults, urban fantasy seems relatively mainstream.  They read these types of books, they’ve seen the movies, they are ready to suspend their disbelief that magic exists in secret.  The resurgence of general media such as Warehouse 13, Doctor Who, and others has also encouraged this.  These are shows that amplify the paranormal, and put out logical reasons for the existance of the supernatural.  These shows are also extremely popular because they encourage such imagination and questions of ‘what if.’

Another reason for the popularity, urban fantasy stories often provide characters that the readers can easily identify with.  A soccer mom makes an easy person to relate to, she drives a minivan, picks her kids up from school, films her daughter’s softball game, and happens to channel the powers of light to slay demons such as in John Ringo’s Princess of Wands.  It is an easy buy-in for a reader.  A private investigator who helps out the police now and again could be the character in almost any standard fiction story.  When that story’s character happens to be best friends with a twenty thousand year old vampire who is the lone survivor of Atlantis such as Ryk Spoor’s Digital Knight, the story becomes interesting to say the least.  Yet everyone has the odd friend or two, so this isn’t something that would totally confuse a new reader.

Of interest to me, both as an author and a reader, urban fantasy often acts as a gateway genre to more traditional fantasy books.  Readers sometimes really like the ideas and concepts and so they’ll dive a little deeper into the overall broader fantasy genre.  Also, writers who have made their break in urban fantasy often branch out into other areas, such as Jim Butcher with his Codex Alera series.  Sometimes it works the otherway, such as with John Ringo, who wrote Princess of Wands after he established an extensive science fiction bibliography.

Overall, there are a number of excellent books that I’d recommend.  Urban Fantasy is an exciting and fun genre of books to read, and there are plenty of books to check out.  Off hand, I recommend: Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series, John Ringo’s Princess of Wands, and a few others in the Books I’d Recommend section.